Is God Able and Willing to Save Me?
James Smith, 1860
The salvation of the soul is of the greatest possible importance, and should be sought and secured before anything else. This being the case, we do not wonder that, when the Holy Spirit quickens the soul, and enlightens it to see its sinfulness and danger — it should be harassed with doubts, fears and misgivings; because we know that Satan will do all he can to prevent the salvation of the soul; and if he cannot keep it in carnal security, he will endeavor to drive it to despair. The power of Satan over the human mind is great — much greater than most people think. It befits us, therefore, to be on our watch and on our guard, lest he keep us from Christ, by persuading us that all is well, or by suggesting that it is in vain to apply to him. If he can keep us from feeling our need of Christ, he will; but if he cannot do this, he will try to persuade us that ours is a peculiar case, and that either Christ cannot or will not save us. Let us, then, look at this subject a little.
Can God save such a sinner as I am? Yes; let your sins be . . .
ever so numerous,
ever so aggravated,
ever so peculiar.
The demerit of your sin is not for one moment to be compared with the merit of Christ. Your sins may be like a drop of filthy water — but the merit of Christ is like an ocean of clear, pure, living water, in which, If you trust in him, that drop will be swallowed up, absorbed, and lost forever! Yours are the sins of a finite creature — his is the merit of the infinite God. If no atonement had been made, or if the power of Christ to atone had been finite, then we could suppose that there would be some difficulty; but there is an atonement, and that atonement was made by One whose merit, worth, and power to atone were infinite; and therefore there is no difficulty.
The Lord Jesus Christ saved some of the greatest sinners, called "the ungodly" — the "enemies of God" — such sinners as Manasseh, and the dying thief, and Saul of Tarsus — and he made an atonement for the sins of such sinners. And if all the sins of all who had ever lived, and of all who ever shall live, had been committed by one person for whom Christ died, God could save that person with all possible ease, for "the blood of Jesus Christ, his Son, cleanses us from all sin."
There is not the most distant comparison between all the sins that have ever been committed, or that ever shall be committed by any who come to Christ — and the merit of Christ. But it is great folly; yes, it is a great sin, to endeavor to set up our sins above the merits of Christ. If the merits of Christ's blood were compared to the mighty ocean, the sins that are to be cast into it must only be compared to the tiniest grain of sand, which the most powerful microscope could show.
Suffice it to say that, if you wish to be saved, God can save you, for the Lord Jesus Christ has offered himself a sacrifice to God, to expiate, atone for, and put away, by the sacrifice of himself, the sins of all who shall ever believe in him; so that the law, justice, or moral government of God can offer no opposition to the salvation of any sinner who seeks to be saved by him. Opposition! Why, the law, the justice, and the government of God all require that the soul shall be saved, which casts itself upon the merit of Christ, and seeks to be saved by him.
But will God save such a sinner as I am? Yes, unquestionably he will, if you are willing and desirous to be saved by him. He will not save you because you are not very bad, or because you feel as you think you ought, or because you imagine you can do anything in return for it. But he will save you by his grace. He will save you in honor of his Son. He will save you because he has promised to do so in his word. He will save you because he can glorify himself by doing so. If God had not been willing to save sinners, he would not have given his Son to be the Savior of sinners. He would not have wounded him for the transgressions of sinners, nor have bruised him for their iniquities; nor should we ever have heard it said of those for whom he died, "All we like sheep have gone astray: we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all." But "God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes on him should not perish — but have everlasting life."
If God had not been willing to save all sinners who go to Jesus, and to save us if we do so, he would never have commanded the gospel, the glorious, good news of a free salvation for sinners, to be preached to "every creature;" nor would the Holy Spirit have dictated the message, "The Spirit and the bride say, Come! And let him that hears say, Come! And let him that is athirst come! And whoever will, let him take of the water of life freely!" Nor would Jesus have pledged his word, saying, "Him that comes," let him be who he may, let him be what he may; "him that comes I will never cast out."
"Never" — let his heart be ever so hard.
"Never" — let his guilt be ever so great.
"Never" — let his sins be ever so numerous.
"Never" — let his case appear ever so desperate.
"Never" — let his fears be ever so strong.
"I will never" — on no account; nothing shall persuade or induce me. "I will never cast out."
Can you think that God will change his mind, and reject any sinner, after he has sworn, "As I live, says the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live! Turn, turn from your evil ways; for why will you die?"
If you think that he will reject you, or refuse to save you, study his own question, and prepare a reply to it: "Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? says the Lord God; and not that he should return from his ways and live?" Depend upon it, if you are willing to be saved by grace, God is willing to save you; for your willingness is the effect of his grace, as it is written, "Your people shall be willing in the day of your power." If you are willing, the power of Christ has made you so; and this proves that you are one of his people, one whom he has engaged, and delights to save.
But mine is a peculiar case. Is it? Then so much greater is the certainty that God is willing to save you; for saving peculiar sinners will bring peculiar glory to his holy name; and, therefore, if your case is really peculiar, no doubt he will save you.
But in what sense is your case peculiar?
Are you peculiarly wicked? He says, "Seek the Lord while he may be found, call upon him while he is near: let the wicked (and the word translated "wicked" signifies the peculiarly wicked — the outrageously wicked — the desperately hardened); "let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon."
You see that there is no doubt of your reception or pardon; for if the desperately wicked — the greatest sinner that ever did live, or does live now, or ever will live; if the first, the chief, the ringleader of all sinners, returns unto the Lord — it is promised that even he shall find mercy.
God enjoys showing mercy — it is his "delight." "He will abundantly pardon" — pardon with pleasure, pardon freely, pardon forever. Doubt not, question not, fear not; but apply at once, apply with confidence: for "with the Lord there is mercy, and with him is plenteous redemption."
God in Christ is full of compassion and sympathy; he is plenteous in mercy to all them that call upon him. He sympathizes with and pities sinners, such as you are. He has an ocean of mercy, and will glorify it in such as you.
Is your heart peculiarly hard, cold and unfeeling? This is no objection; for he will . . .
melt it with his mercy,
warm it with his love, and
quicken it with his grace.
Do not stay away from Jesus on this account, nor doubt his willingness to save. Come — hard, cold, unfeeling as you are, and he will receive and save you.
Is your heart peculiarly depraved? Do you imagine that no one ever had such a depth of depravity, or such horrid wickedness in the heart as you have, so that on this account you conclude your case to be peculiar? Remember that you know not what others have felt, or what monsters of iniquity God has saved.
However, if your ideas of yourself are correct, and if you are the most wicked, unfeeling, depraved, and peculiar sinner that ever breathed — the Lord Jesus Christ is the most powerful, the most merciful, and the most peculiar Savior; so that, coming to him, you will be very well matched. You will obtain a peculiar salvation, in a peculiar way, and he will get peculiar glory in saving such a peculiar sinner.
Be sure of this: the most peculiar sinner who comes to Christ, will not be lost. Hell will never have to boast that it has one such sinner there — one who is so peculiarly depraved and wicked that Christ could not gain for him access to Heaven. Satan will never be able to point to anyone and say, "That one was so vile — so singularly wicked, that, though willing to be saved, the Lord Jesus was not able or not willing to save him."
The fact is, if you are a singular sinner — then Jesus Christ is a singular Savior; and if you are willing to be saved by him, he is willing to save you. Nor would you be willing, if he had not made you so; and his making you willing was not to disappoint you — but to glorify his free, sovereign, and saving grace in you. Look not, then, at what you have been, however singularly wicked; nor at what you now are, however peculiar either in temperament, disposition, or state of heart . But look at what Christ is, at what Christ has done, at what Christ is doing, and at what Christ has said in his blessed word. The Lord Jesus is a mighty Savior; yes, an almighty Savior, and can save unto the very uttermost, though he has never gone to the uttermost of his love, power, grace, or merit, in saving any sinner yet.
But if it is necessary to do so in your case, he will; for he is as willing, as well as an able Savior, and has proved it for thousands of years, and in millions of instances.
Look, therefore, at Jesus as both able and willing to save — as able and willing to save you.
Look at what Christ has done. He fulfilled the law for those who cannot; he died, the Just One, that the unjust might not die. He died, the Holy One, that the unholy might not die. He died, "that whoever believes in him might not perish — but have everlasting life."
Look at what Jesus is doing. He is making intercession for transgressors; he is standing, as the Mediator, between God and poor miserable sinners, introducing them to God, pleading for them with God, and conveying to them the choicest blessings from God.
In coming to God, never lose sight of the fact that Jesus stands between you and the infinitely holy God. Look at what Jesus has said:, "This is the will of him that sent me, that every one who sees the Son;" that is perceives Me to be the Son of God, "and believes on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day." And again, "All that the Father gives me shall come to me; and him that comes unto me I will never cast out."
Your coming to Jesus proves that you are given unto him by his Father; and you are assured that, if you come to him, he will on no account cast you out, or refuse to receive you.
Let nothing, then, keep you from Jesus one moment. As a sinner — you are fit to come to the Savior this moment; and you will never see the moment when you will be more fit. Jesus is ready to save you at this moment; and there never will be a period at which he will be more willing to save you. There is no truth in all the Bible more clear, than that God is able and willing to save you — that the Lord Jesus is willing and waiting to receive you. I would therefore say to you, as the multitude did to the blind man at Jericho," Rise, he is calling for you."
Rise from your gloom and despondency;
rise from your doubts and fears;
rise, and pore over yourself no longer;
rise, and listen to Satan no more;
rise, and come to Jesus just as you are, with your beggar's coat on, in all your rags and filth. Come just as you are, for he "receives sinners." He came into the world on purpose to save sinners; he lives in Heaven to save sinners; he has sent his servants and his gospel that he may save sinners; and by his Holy Spirit he convinces of sin, strips of self-righteousness, and creates a burning thirst in the soul — on purpose to save sinners.
His name is JESUS, because he saves his people from their sins, and he fills the office of mediator in order to save sinners. Only try him; only try him, and you will soon find that he is both able and willing to save you — to save you freely, to save you fully, and to save you for evermore.
The moment you believe . . .
you are saved,
all your sins are forgiven,
the perfect work of Christ is placed to your account,
you are acquitted from all charges,
and you stand perfectly righteous before God.
Realizing this, you will have peace with God access with boldness into his presence, and the one business of your life will be to please God. Believe, then, and you are saved; and being saved, speak of Jesus to all you know, and endeavor to lead many sinners to him, that they also may be saved by him, to the glory of his grace.